Thursday, January 17, 2019

Lone Star Ticks seem to prefer women

Fatal attraction: lone star ticks (Amblyomma americanum) exhibit preference for human female breath over male breath

Ticks use a variety of chemical cues to locate hosts, the main cue being carbon dioxide, which is exhaled by hosts. This study sought to experimentally determine whether ticks exhibit preference among human hosts based on host sex, as the chemical components of human male and female breath have been shown to differ. We focused on the lone star tick, Amblyomma americanum, due to its importance as a disease vector in the United States and its active host-seeking behavior. To test the hypothesis that ticks exhibit preference based upon host sex, we conducted a binary choice behavioral bioassay. Male and female human volunteers (n = 20 pairs) breathed into opposite sides of a secured polycarbonate tube containing 10 adult A. americanum and the proportion of ticks that exhibited a host preference was recorded. We found that under controlled conditions, human females attract a significantly larger proportion of ticks than males. Possible mechanisms to explain these results include that (1) female breath contains components that ticks find attractive, and/or (2) male breath contains a repellent chemical component. 

Friday, December 7, 2018

MMS and Chlorine Dioxide warnings

Dear Lyme folks,

From this page on Wikipedia, I saw the following warnings about "MMS" supplement that many people with chronic illness use or have tried. I also recently had my house fumigated with chlorine dioxide gas to kill mold, spores and mycotoxins. It's the same thing as MMS, but applied to an entire house at much higher concentration, not just a few drops taken internally. In any case, chlorine dioxide is a powerful oxidant (which is why it can kill microbes, mold, etc.).  

On July 30, 2010, and again on October 1, 2010, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned against the use of the product "Miracle Mineral Supplement", or "MMS", which when made up according to instructions produces chlorine dioxide. MMS has been marketed as a treatment for a variety of conditions, including HIV, cancer, autism, and acne. The FDA warnings informed consumers that MMS can cause serious harm to health and stated that it has received numerous reports of nausea, diarrhea, severe vomiting, and life-threatening low blood pressure caused by dehydration.[37][38]

Chlorine dioxide is toxic, hence limits on exposure to it are needed to ensure its safe use. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has set a maximum level of 0.8 mg/L for chlorine dioxide in drinking water.[35] The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), an agency of the United States Department of Labor, has set an 8-hour permissible exposure limit of 0.1 ppm in air (0.3 mg/m3) for people working with chlorine dioxide.[36]

Here's another interesting link about ClO2 (Chlorine Dioxide) gas. This is a study about low-level ClO2 in the air, given to rats over a long period of time. The authors were attempting to determine whether it was safe for use in settings where killing bacteria, viruses, molds, etc. would be desirable, such as in a hospital.  


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Herpes virus link to bipolar disorder and depression - Science & research news | Frontiers

 Herpes virus link to bipolar disorder and depression - Science & research news | Frontiers

For first time, study shows HHV-6 virus can infect neurons & possibly cause cognitive disturbances leading to psychiatric disorders: Frontiers in Microbiology


Saturday, October 27, 2018

Neurological Lyme disease: What you should know

 Just spreading the news and info about upcoming events, webinars, etc. I am not endorsing or  promoting events.
Neurological Lyme disease: 15% of Lyme sufferers have it, but most don't get the right diagnosis or treatment. Learn how to get relief from Dr. Bill Rawls. 

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Genome-wide analysis of Borrelia turcica and 'Candidatus Borrelia tachyglossi' shows relapsing fever-like genomes...

Genome-wide analysis of Borrelia turcica and 'Candidatus Borrelia tachyglossi' shows relapsing fever-like genomes with unique genomic links to Lyme.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Mast Cell Activation May Underlie 'Chronic Fatigue Syndrome'

Mast Cell Activation May Underlie 'Chronic Fatigue Syndrome'
Miriam E. Tucker
March 13, 2018

SALT LAKE CITY, UT — Mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS) may be an overlooked yet potentially treatable contributor to the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS), say physicians who specialize in ME/CFS and its manifestations.
The subject was discussed during a 2-day clinician summit held March 2 to 3, 2018, during which 13 panelists met to begin developing expert consensus guidance for primary care and specialist physicians for the management of the complex multisystem illness ME/CFS, and to recommend research priorities.
"ME/CFS is a descriptive diagnosis of a bunch of symptoms, but it says nothing about what's causing the symptoms, which is probably part of the reason it's so hard for it to get recognition. So, the question becomes, What other pathology is driving this illness and making the person feel so ill? I think mast cell activation is one of those drivers, whether cause, effect, or perpetuator, I don't know," internist David Kaufman, MD, who practices in Mountain View, California, told Medscape Medical News.
MCAS is a recently described collection of signs and symptoms involving several different organ systems, that, as with ME/CFS itself, do not typically cause abnormalities in routine laboratory or radiologic testing. Proposed diagnostic criteria were published in 2010 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
Kaufman first learned about MCAS about 5 years ago from a patient who introduced him to the published work of mast cell expert Lawrence Afrin, MD. "I spoke to him and then I started looking for it, and the more I looked, the more I found it," Kaufman said, estimating that he has identified MCAS in roughly half his patients who meet ME/CFS criteria.
Indeed, summit panel member Charles W. Lapp, MD, who recently retired from his ME/CFS and fibromyalgia practice in Charlotte, North Carolina, told Medscape Medical News, "I see a lot of this. I think it's one of the many overlap syndromes that we've been missing for years."
Another panel member, New York City ME/CFS specialist Susan M. Levine, MD, also said she sees MCAS frequently. "I suspect 50% to 60% of ME/CFS patients have it. It's a very new concept."
In Levine's experience, MCAS often manifests in patients being unable to tolerate certain foods or medications. "If we can reduce the mast cell problem, we can facilitate taking other drugs to treat ME/CFS," she said. However, she also cautioned, "It's going to be a subset, not all ME/CFS patients."

Clinical Assessment and Laboratory Testing

As discussed at the summit, for patients who meet ME/CFS criteria, the next step is to drill down into individual patients' symptoms and address treatable abnormalities. Investigation for MCAS may yield such findings among those who exhibit episodic symptoms consistent with mast cell mediator release affecting two or more of the following areas:
  • Skin: urticaria, angioedema, flushing
  • Gastrointestinal: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramping
  • Cardiovascular: hypotensive syncope or near syncope, tachycardia
  • Respiratory: wheezing
  • Naso-ocular: conjunctival injection, pruritus, nasal stuffiness
Symptoms can wax and wane over years and range from mild to severe/debilitating. It is important to ask about triggers, Kaufman advised. "The patient is usually aware of what makes them feel worse."
Routine laboratory assessments include complete blood count with differential, complete metabolic panel, magnesium, and prothrombin time/partial thromboplastin time.
More specific laboratory testing can be tricky, as the samples must be kept cold. These include serum tryptase, chromogranin A, plasma prostaglandin D2, histamine, heparin, a variety of random and 24-hour urinary prostaglandins, and urinary leukotriene E4.
For patients who have had a prior biopsy, the saved sample can be stained for mast cells.
Kaufman said that initially after he learned about MCAS, he would only run the laboratory tests in patients with suggestive clinical history, such as food sensitivities/triggers, rashes, hives, temperature intolerance, or chemical sensitivities. "But ultimately, I had patients [for whom] I couldn't figure out what was going on; I would check, and started finding positives in patients I wasn't suspicious of."
So, now he just tests for it in all his patients with ME/CFS. "It's bigger than allergy," he remarked.

Treatment May Ease Some ME/CFS Symptoms

Treatment of MCAS involves trigger avoidance as possible; H1 receptor antagonists such as loratadine, cetirizine, or fexofenadine (up to double the usual doses); H2 histamine receptor antagonists including famotidine or ranitidine; and mast cell membrane-stabilizers such as cromolyn sodium. Slow-release vitamin C can also help in inhibiting mast cells.
Over-the-counter plant flavonoids such as quercetin also may be helpful, typically at high doses (up to 1000 mg three times daily). "There's a long list of medications that either quiet down mast cell activation or block the receptor," Kaufman noted.
But despite that, without controlled trials, it is difficult to determine the exact clinical effects of blocking mast cells, especially as these patients tend to be taking many other medications. And in the context of ME/CFS, the extent to which suppressing mast cell activity addresses the core symptoms of fatigue, postexertional malaise, orthostatic intolerance, and cognitive dysfunction is unclear.
Kaufman noted, "I think treatment clearly helps with the fatigue because they're not reacting to everything. It improves gastrointestinal symptoms, so they can eat better.... I have seen [postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome] improve, but I have to say I also give meds for dysautonomia, so I can't be sure."
Lapp said that in his experience, "[Patients with ME/CFS] aren't cured, but do get better. [Blocking mast cell activity] gets rid of dizziness, fatigue, nausea, and light sensitivity."
Levine pointed out, "We're just at the beginning of identifying this patient subset and thinking what makes sense to try.... One thing that's sure is that the drugs are pretty safe," she said, adding that when it comes to working up patients with ME/CFS for MCAS, "There only seem to be good things that can happen."
Kaufman, Lapp, and Levine have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Treating Lyme depression and fatigue

It might be helpful for Lyme patients who are experiencing fatigue and/or depression to know about the  CoQ10 deficiency that  occurs in patients with these two conditions. I found out about this by reading a book on metabolic cardiology (see link below). It has a dosage rec. for ME/CFS and fibromyalgia patients as follows: 

multiviamin/mineral foundation program with 1 gram of fish oil 
coQ10: 300 - 360 mg
L-carnitine: 2,000 - 3,000 mg
D-ribose: 15 grams 
magnesium: 400-800 mg 

Here are relevant articles: 

The following article deals with chronic fatigue and CoQ10: 

The following book has informative explanations of the biochemistry of CoQ10, L-carnitine, D-ribose, and magnesium: 

Peter Kraus
recovering Lyme patient

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Lyme disease: Obstacles to diagnosis and effective treatment

Lyme disease: Obstacles to diagnosis and effective treatment

New breathalyzer can flag early onset Parkinson's

The Times of Israel

[Aug 26, 2018 is when I found this article. —Bob]

New breathalyzer can flag early onset Parkinson's, Israeli researchers say:

New breathalyzer can flag early onset Parkinson's, Israeli researchers say | The Times of Israel

Technion team also identifies breath signatures of 17 other ailments that could be detected by the handheld breath analysis device, including Alzheimer's and gastric cancer

home page

Illustrative image of a patient with Parkinson's disease (Obencem, iStock by Getty Images)

Illustrative image of a patient with Parkinson's disease (Obencem, iStock by Getty Images)

A team of researchers at Israel's Technion Institute of Technology has developed a device they say can detect the early onset of Parkinson's disease by analyzing the breath of users.

Since antiquity physicians have been evaluating their patients by the odor of their bodily fluids: the stools and urine of noblemen's children were often sniffed daily by their physicians. Of these, exhaled breath is the most accessible and useful source for monitoring health and disorders, the researchers said in a paper, one of several they published on the subject.

Armed with this knowledge, the researchers, led by Prof. Hossam Haick of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute of the Technion, set out on a quest to find out if a breathalyzer could help identify patients who are at the very early stages of Parkinson's disease.

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Parkinson's disease is a degenerative condition that affects dopamine-producing neurons in an area of the brain. Dopamine, a chemical, is responsible for coordinating movement. Symptoms of the disease develop gradually over the years, causing patients to experience hand tremors, limb rigidity and gait and balance problems. And although there is no cure, the affliction is treated by dealing with the symptoms by using dopaminergic medications, according to the Parkinson's Foundation.

Prof. Hossam Haick of the Technion holding the breath analyzers that use miniaturized sensors and machine learning algorithms to detect the early onset of Parkinson's disease (Technion)

Because people with Parkinson's start experiencing symptoms only later in the course of the disease, when a substantial number of neurons have already been damaged, scientists are trying to find ways to identify bio-markers that can lead to an earlier diagnosis and hopefully more tailor-made treatments to help slow down its progression.

More than 10 million people worldwide live with Parkinson's, with some 60,000 Americans diagnosed each year and nearly 1 million forecast to have the disease in the United States by 2020. The direct and indirect costs of Parkinson's — which include treatment, social security payments and lost income — is estimated at nearly $25 billion per year in the US alone, the Parkinson's Foundation says on its website.

The breath analyzer developed by the Technion multidisciplinary team, which included electrical and chemical engineers and medical researchers, consists of miniaturized sensors that can help detect the early onset of the disease and help with follow-up treatment, Haick said in a phone interview with The Times of Israel.

The 10x5x5-centimeter (4x2x2-inch) handheld device holds a set of 40 chemical sensors that have been trained via algorithms to detect specific markers in the breath that could flag the onset of the disease.

The researchers collected breath samples of Parkinson's patients and loaded it onto the sensors, which have chemicals that react to molecules in the breath. These reactions are transformed into electrical signals, with the breath of Parkinson's patients marked by the algorithms with their own kind of electrical signal. The sensors in the breathalyzer were then trained to identify those specific breath compositions that indicate Parkinson's, said Haick. So when people are tested with the device, the sensors are able to distinguish the breath of those who have the disease from the breath of those who don't.

Over 80% accuracy

The researchers conducted their studies with the breathalyzer over a number of years on a sample population of up to 500 people, Haick said. In their most recent study, published in ACS Chemical Neuroscience last month, Haick and his team set out to find out if their device could detect differences in the breath of patients with early-stage, not-yet-treated Parkinson's disease.

The researchers tested the device on the exhaled breath of 29 newly diagnosed patients who had not yet begun taking medication for their illness. When comparing the sensor output to that of 19 control subjects of similar age, they found that the breathalyzer managed to detect early Parkinson's disease with over 80 percent accuracy, almost as good an outcome as an ultrasound scan of the brain.

"Just as a dog can be trained to memorize a smell," said Haick, "so we have trained our sensors in the breathalyzer to identify those that are specific to Parkinson's."

Although the device still needs to be improved and validated with larger studies, the researchers say that it has potential as a small, portable system to screen at-risk individuals without the need for big and expensive analytical tools or highly trained specialists.

To commercialize the device, the baton now must be picked up by either pharma companies or startups, Haick said. The Technion has already reached licensing agreements for the technology with seven entities, some of them big international firms and some startups, in the US, Israel, Asia, Germany and Toronto, he said.

"I think it could be a point of care device," Haick said, where doctors can screen patients in their clinics. "The development of the disease can be slowed down, if detected and treated at an early stage."

The researchers have also identified the breath characteristics of 17 diseases. "We have proven that each of these diseases has a signature in breath," he said, so they could use the same technology for those diseases, including multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's, lung cancer and gastric cancer, he said.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

A New Tick Species Found in USA

We don't yet know how the long-horned tick came to the United States, how it's spreading, or what it's capable of doing. All we know is that it's here.